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Arlington Park

by

Arlington Park Cover

ISBN13: 9780312426729
ISBN10: 0312426720
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Review-A-Day

"[A] sort of Desperate Housewives for the thinking reader....Relief from this bleak view comes from the very vigor of Cusk's characters. Each has made a home in this homogenous place, but for a markedly different reason; each is plagued by her own distinct worries; each finds consolation in her own way. They are, in other words, strikingly real people. And then there is Cusk's writing — so diamond sharp and so lushly metaphorical that even had this substantial book no substance, one would read it happily." Christina Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Set over the course of one rainy day in a London suburb, Arlington Park is a viciously funny portrait of a group of young mothers, each bound to their families, each straining for some kind of independence. As the hours pass, Rachel Cusk's graceful, incisive prose passes through the experience of each mother, following them all from the early-morning scrambling, through car trips and visits to the mall, and finally to a dinner party in the evening, when the husbands return and all the conflicts come to the surface. Penetrating and empathetic, Arlington Park is "a domestic adventure about the perils of modern privilege that is as smartly satirical as it is warmly wise" (Elle).

Review:

"In this devastating ensemble novel, Whitbread Award-winner Cusk (Saving Agnes) exposes the roiling inner lives and not-so-quiet desperation of young mothers in the well-to-do London suburb Arlington Park. The book's single day begins with an epic rainstorm that wakes part-time private-school English teacher Juliet Randall, who spent the previous evening at a wealthier neighbor's home and was told, in front of husband Benedict, 'You want to be careful.... You can start to sound strident at your age.' As Amanda Clapp strains to maintain her house's empty perfection, a multi-kid play date gets out of control. Maisie Carrington feels 'imprisoned for life' by her frosty, upper-crust childhood, and can barely contain her violent feelings toward her own daughters. Christine Lanham, a newcomer to the class distinction her marriage has brought her, abhors the hypocrisy that surrounds her, but knows she will never leave her family. The story line coils around each woman's home until it gathers the group for a drunken dinner party, where husbands express pleasure with their privilege while fretting that something feels amiss, and children, exhausted by their mothers' alternating neglect and desperate love, sleep like the dead — leaving the women holding hot coals of their silent insights. Their plight is an old story, but Cusk makes it incisively vivid." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[T]he kind of book that makes you burn things on the stove and berate your husband. Cusk is good at identifying what she fears and reviles." New York Times

Review:

"Such is the author's skill that few readers will be able to escape a sense of squirming empathy for these women's frequent bouts of self-pity....The sour aftertaste their stories leave, however, is a new development in Cusk's work — and not a welcome one. Accomplished, honest and uncompromising, but not a whole lot of fun." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[The characters are] not always good company — this reviewer threw the book down halfway through, swearing to get out of town — but in her luminous if disturbing study Cusk has done important work in giving them voice. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"When Cusk is at her best — and she often is in this book — she writes scenes that are both funny and furious....The strength of Arlington Park is that while depicting the sadness of these very human and likable mothers, Cusk doesn't patronize or pity them." Vendela Vida, The San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Arlington Park is a remarkable, though quiet, work. Cusk illuminates ordinary lives, presumably the kind of lives that most of us lead." Denver Post

Review:

"What makes the book brilliant is Cusk's fearlessness about her subject matter....Cusk treats the women's day as a high literary subject that deserves great writing and acute observation. She addresses the problem of time with energy and wit." Newsday

Review:

"Cusk's glory is her style, cold and hard and devastatingly specific, empathetic but not sympathetic....She seems to be saying that Arlington Park may be comfortable, maddening, deracinating, alienating nothingness, but it is the only choice." Jane Smiley, Los Angeles Times

Review:

"With so many women slogging through the same malevolent marsh, a reader's receptivity is dulled. Yet just when you're ready to moan Enough, Cusk pulls you back with a perfect description..." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Synopsis:

Set over the course of one rainy day in a London suburb, Arlington Park is a viciously funny portrait of a group of young mothers, each bound to their families, each straining for some kind of independence. As the hours pass, Rachel Cusk's graceful, incisive prose passes through the experience of each mother, following them all from the early-morning scrambling, through car trips and visits to the mall, and finally to a dinner party in the evening, when the husbands return and all the conflicts come to the surface. Penetrating and empathetic, Arlington Park is "a domestic adventure about the perils of modern privilege that is as smartly satirical as it is warmly wise" (Elle).

About the Author

Rachel Cusk is the Whitbread Award-winning author of Saving Agnes, The Temporary, The Country Life, The Lucky Ones, and In the Fold, and of the memoir A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother. She lives in Bristol, England.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

lady in florida, April 15, 2009 (view all comments by lady in florida)
If you are a woman and even the slightest bit suicidal -- don't read this. If you are a woman (or man) and are just looking for a good read -- don't read this. If you enjoy reading about really sad and mad women being really sad and mad -- read this.

A more whining, downcast, inward-looking, boring, stereotypical bunch of women I have yet to meet in a book. Certainly, surely, (please God..) they do not exist in real life in such a concentrated lump. If they do, find them and cheer them up -- or slap them.

If there had been at least ONE normal, happy, reasonably contented person...it would have been a bit more realistic. But no -- they were ALL maladjusted malcontents. And sooooo excruciatingly boring. How I lasted to the end of the book is a mystery to me as I threw it down in disgust several times. That I picked it up again must say something masochistic about me or something good about the author. I prefer the latter...she could write a good book, I see...if she would for corn's sake - lighten up.
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
Cynthia Newberry Martin, January 25, 2009 (view all comments by Cynthia Newberry Martin)
Arlington Park is well written and digs deep into truth. It's about women-real and flawed. It's about marriage. It's about not only the lives we plan to live and choose to live, but the lives we end up living. In an article written in 2005, Cusk said, "I remain fascinated by where you go as a woman once you are a mother, and if you ever come back." Arlington Park was one of the best books I read in 2008, and a new addition to my all-time favorite books. It was so good, in fact, that I read it again in December--twice in one year.

The first sentence: "All night the rain fell on Arlington Park." The falling of rain appears like a refrain throughout the book. The rain falls on everyone in Arlington Park. It falls on all of us.

The novel is divided into ten unmarked sections: 1-the rain fell; 2-Juliet; 3-Amanda; 4-Christine, Maisie and Stephanie at the mall; 5-Solly; 6-in the park/the rain had stopped; 7-Juliet; 8-Maisie; 9-Christine; and 10-party at Christine's with Juliet, Maisie, and Maggie.

The first time I read it, I was so taken with Juliet that I didn't want to leave her to switch to Amanda. This time, it did not feel like a brusque change, but felt right. Because it's not just about one of us; it's about all of us.

Here's a little flavor of what you have to look forward to:
-Juliet about a recording of a song by Ravel: "The sound of it brought tears to Juliet's eyes. It was the voice, that woman's voice, so solitary and powerful, so-transcendent. It made Juliet think she could transcend it all, this little house with its stained carpets, its shopping, its flawed people, transcend the grey, rain-sodden distances of Arlington Park; transcend, even her own body, where bitterness lay like lead in the veins. She could open somewhere like a flower...open out all the petals packed inside her."
-Solly about her inability to communicate with a Japanese student renting out their extra room: "...she became aware of how much of her lay shrouded in this inarticulable darkness."
-Solly: "Suddenly she saw her life as a breeding ground, a community under a rock...There was a lack of light, a lack of higher purpose to it all. How could she have forgotten to find out what else there was? How could she have stayed there, under her rock, down in the mulch, and forgotten to take a look outside and see what was going on? All at once she didn't know what she'd been thinking of."
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312426729
Author:
Cusk, Rachel
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20071231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
7.88 x 5.93 x 0.805 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Arlington Park Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Picador USA - English 9780312426729 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this devastating ensemble novel, Whitbread Award-winner Cusk (Saving Agnes) exposes the roiling inner lives and not-so-quiet desperation of young mothers in the well-to-do London suburb Arlington Park. The book's single day begins with an epic rainstorm that wakes part-time private-school English teacher Juliet Randall, who spent the previous evening at a wealthier neighbor's home and was told, in front of husband Benedict, 'You want to be careful.... You can start to sound strident at your age.' As Amanda Clapp strains to maintain her house's empty perfection, a multi-kid play date gets out of control. Maisie Carrington feels 'imprisoned for life' by her frosty, upper-crust childhood, and can barely contain her violent feelings toward her own daughters. Christine Lanham, a newcomer to the class distinction her marriage has brought her, abhors the hypocrisy that surrounds her, but knows she will never leave her family. The story line coils around each woman's home until it gathers the group for a drunken dinner party, where husbands express pleasure with their privilege while fretting that something feels amiss, and children, exhausted by their mothers' alternating neglect and desperate love, sleep like the dead — leaving the women holding hot coals of their silent insights. Their plight is an old story, but Cusk makes it incisively vivid." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "[A] sort of Desperate Housewives for the thinking reader....Relief from this bleak view comes from the very vigor of Cusk's characters. Each has made a home in this homogenous place, but for a markedly different reason; each is plagued by her own distinct worries; each finds consolation in her own way. They are, in other words, strikingly real people. And then there is Cusk's writing — so diamond sharp and so lushly metaphorical that even had this substantial book no substance, one would read it happily." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review" by , "[T]he kind of book that makes you burn things on the stove and berate your husband. Cusk is good at identifying what she fears and reviles."
"Review" by , "Such is the author's skill that few readers will be able to escape a sense of squirming empathy for these women's frequent bouts of self-pity....The sour aftertaste their stories leave, however, is a new development in Cusk's work — and not a welcome one. Accomplished, honest and uncompromising, but not a whole lot of fun."
"Review" by , "[The characters are] not always good company — this reviewer threw the book down halfway through, swearing to get out of town — but in her luminous if disturbing study Cusk has done important work in giving them voice. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "When Cusk is at her best — and she often is in this book — she writes scenes that are both funny and furious....The strength of Arlington Park is that while depicting the sadness of these very human and likable mothers, Cusk doesn't patronize or pity them."
"Review" by , "Arlington Park is a remarkable, though quiet, work. Cusk illuminates ordinary lives, presumably the kind of lives that most of us lead."
"Review" by , "What makes the book brilliant is Cusk's fearlessness about her subject matter....Cusk treats the women's day as a high literary subject that deserves great writing and acute observation. She addresses the problem of time with energy and wit."
"Review" by , "Cusk's glory is her style, cold and hard and devastatingly specific, empathetic but not sympathetic....She seems to be saying that Arlington Park may be comfortable, maddening, deracinating, alienating nothingness, but it is the only choice."
"Review" by , "With so many women slogging through the same malevolent marsh, a reader's receptivity is dulled. Yet just when you're ready to moan Enough, Cusk pulls you back with a perfect description..."
"Synopsis" by ,

Set over the course of one rainy day in a London suburb, Arlington Park is a viciously funny portrait of a group of young mothers, each bound to their families, each straining for some kind of independence. As the hours pass, Rachel Cusk's graceful, incisive prose passes through the experience of each mother, following them all from the early-morning scrambling, through car trips and visits to the mall, and finally to a dinner party in the evening, when the husbands return and all the conflicts come to the surface. Penetrating and empathetic, Arlington Park is "a domestic adventure about the perils of modern privilege that is as smartly satirical as it is warmly wise" (Elle).

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